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Currently Browsing: urban fantasy
Oct
29

Review: Revelation by Erica Hayes

Review: Revelation by Erica Hayes Revelation Author: Erica Hayes  Release Date: Oct. 2, 2012 Publisher: Berkley The Seven Signs #1 ISBN: #978-0425258378 Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: A fallen angel with a mission and a medical examiner who’s lost her faith are fighting for their souls in a glittering, near-future Manhattan…  Blind faith is for fools. That’s what Dr. Morgan Sterling believes. And she’s going to prove it by curing the zombie plague ravaging her city’s slums. She’s certain it’s not a sign of the End of Days, but a nasty disease—until an angel appears in her morgue in a flash of glory.  Luniel is not just a fallen angel. He’s a powerful warrior sworn to fight evil in hopes of a chance at redemption. He’s after the demon princes who are stealing the seven vials of holy wrath which, when perverted, will unleash eternal hell on earth.  To stop the plague, Luniel needs Morgan’s help, and her faith. But Morgan believes science is their salvation. If the zombie plague is a demonic curse—and if Luniel is true—he’ll have to prove it. Even if he loses his heart to true love or his soul to Hell… What G & U are talking about: Revelation is the premier novel in the new Seven Signs series by Erica Hayes.  Although a little rough, we enjoyed this darkly apocalyptic urban fantasy/paranormal romance novel. The series is based on the Christian belief of the apocalypse, which has seven signs that herald its coming.  The first being a plague upon the people, the second turning the seas into blood.  This second sign is where our story begins.  Gikany and Una found it interesting that this series begins on the second plague, not the first.  We also enjoyed that this story takes place in the not too distant future, which is implied by the technological advances that are part of the society. Revelation begins with our introduction to Luniel, one of the Tainted.  The Tainted are a band of fallen warrior angels that committed a sin that stripped them of their souls and have left them on Earth, as a mercenary group working for Mike…aka Michael the Archangel.  They still, theoretically, can be redeemed/returned to Heaven, although it seems a bit of a debated and moot point.  Mike uses them to help control the demon population and uprisings as well as doing jobs that would be…unpleasant for a member of...
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Oct
26

Review: Black Lament by Christina Henry

Review: Black Lament by Christina Henry Black Lament Author: Christina Henry  Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012 Publisher: ACE Black Wings #4 (aka Madeline Black #4) ISBN: #978-0425256572 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (288 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       NOTE: the book summary and the review (below) contain spoilers from the previous book, Black Howl.       As an Agent of Death, Madeline Black deals with loss every day. But when tragedy touches her own life, Maddy will have to find the strength within to carry on…        Devastated and grieving, Maddy unexpectedly finds hope with the discovery that she is pregnant. But Maddy’s joy is short lived when Lucifer informs her that he wants the baby, hoping to draw on the combined power of two of his bloodlines. Maddy is determined that her grandfather will never have her child, but she’s not sure what she can do to stop him.        Being pregnant is stressful enough, but Maddy suddenly finds herself at odds with the Agency—forbidden from meddling in the affairs of the supernatural courts. When a few of her soul collections go awry, Maddy begins to suspect that the Agency wants to terminate her employment. They should know by now that she isn’t the sort to give up without a fight… What I’m talking about:       Black Lament jumps back into the story of our heroine, Madeline (Maddy) Black, moments after the emotionally explosive conclusion of the third book in Ms. Henry’s fabulous series. Maddy has recently lost the love of her life, killed by her fallen angle father, Azazel. She is oddly comforted her by great (great…) grand-daddy, Lucifer, until she realizes he wants to keep her little bundle of joy growing in her belly – something else that Maddy just discovered. It is a lot for Maddy to adjust to, including her continually increasing powers born from Lucifer.       Although she wants to just be left alone, Maddy still has a job to do (she is an agent of death and has souls to guide to the “Door.”) To compound her problems, she’s on the hit list of all the major faerie factions after taking out one of their queens (who also happened to be her boss/friend, JB’s mom). Surrounding Maddy is her ever present house guardian gargoyle, Beezle and her friends Jude and Samiel. Adding to the equation is her ex-fiancee (arranged marriage), Nathaniel – there...
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Oct
23

Review & Giveaway: A Trace of Moonlight by Allison Pang

Review & Giveaway: A Trace of Moonlight by Allison Pang A Trace of Moonlight Author: Allison Pang  Release Date: Oct. 30, 2012 Publisher: Pocket Books Abby Sinclair #3 ISBN: #978-1439198360 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book Book Source: Book Tour About the book: Drinking from the waters of lethe and offering herself up as Faerie’s sacrificial Tithe …these just might be the least of Abby Sinclair’s problems. Abby’s pact with a demon—whether or not she remembers making it—is binding, so she’d better count herself lucky that (in the words of a daemon who knows better) there’s nearly always a loophole. But her friends’ reckless attempts to free her, well intentioned though they may be, set off a disastrous chain of events. In no time at all, Abby turns her incubus lover mortal and gets herself killed, cursed, and married to an elven prince whose mother wants her dead. She might have even been able to recover from all that had she not lost the Key to the CrossRoads to her mortal enemy, who promptly uses his restored power to wreak havoc on the OtherWorld and put its very existence in jeopardy. Only one person can make things right again, but to find her, Abby must place her trust in allies of mixed loyalties, and conquer her nightmares once and for all. What B is talking about: Trapped in Faery with no memory of how she got there or the destiny that still awaits her, Abby Sinclair finds herself at the center of a brewing unrest between the different paths of the Crossroads. Although dying (and coming back to life) certainly puts a new perspective on the happenings around her, Abby has to learn to trust in those dearest to her before time runs out, and any hope of a world worth living in is lost forever. Abby is back in the third, and final, installment of this wonderful series from Allison Pang, and is just as much a danger to herself and others as ever. As a TouchStone, Dreamer, and KeyStone, Abby has had to shoulder enormous responsibility, and has made some disastrous mistakes along the way. Caught between the arrogance of powerful immortals and the impatience of her own mortality, Abby has often caused more trouble than she could possibly solve. But, the Abby in A Trace of Moonlight has changed. She is more cautious, less self-assured, as well as more giving. She is a better, wiser Abby, and more deserving of the dedication and sacrifice...
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Oct
19

Review: Dark Light of Day by Jill Archer

Review: Dark Light of Day by Jill Archer Dark Light of Day Author: Jill Archer  Release Date: Sept. 25, 2012 Publisher: Ace Books Noon Onyx series #1 ISBN: #978-0425257159 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (375 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, and the world from slipping back into chaos.      Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, the daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret: She was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of, and some would consider her an abomination.      Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or to attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life. What G & U are talking about:      Dark Light of Day is the first book in the Noon Onyx series.  It is set 2,000 years after the demons prevailed in Armageddon.  Despite that, civilization has continued in New Babylon, the lone remaining city.  The highly stratified post-Armageddon society of New Babylon consists of three groups: Host, Angels and Hyrke.  Members of the Host are descendants of Lucifer’s warlords who possess innate magic.  Angels consist of humans with faith in God and some actual angels.  Human Angels do not contain innate magic, but are able to cast spells.  Hyrke are humans without any magical abilities.  Some work on the estates of Angels or Host families as servants, others live separately as farmers or fishermen.  Hyrke are not entirely powerless, however.  Hyrke families have hearth demons that they can appeal to, and such appeals are commonly granted if properly subservient and accompanied by an appropriate sacrifice.  What separates Hyrke from Angels beyond faith is not clearly defined.      The main character, Noon Onyx, is a member of the Host.  Among the Host, all males contain innate waning (or destructive) magic and all...
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Oct
18

Review: Redlisted by Sara Beaman

Review: Redlisted by Sara Beaman Redlisted Author: Sara Beaman    Release Date: July 30, 2012 Publisher: Self-published ISBN: 978-1478324898 Genre: Urban Fantasy, suspense Format(s): Paperback (242 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Kate wakes from a gunshot wound to find herself dependent on the blood of the man who shot her. She can’t remember who she is and her own face in the mirror is unfamiliar. As she tries to unravel the mystery of her own identity, she’s swept along on a covert mission she barely understands. Revenants, a vampiric race of post-mortals, maneuver for power in the world of plastic surgery, internet conspiracy theories, and information-stifling media conglomerates. Those who can control dream and memory muddy the waters as the mission converges on a underground bunker and the key to a source of eldritch power. Kate must uncover her past and tease apart clues to her companions’ urgent mission so she can take a stand before it’s too late to act. What VampBard’s talking about: With nearly 250 pages of action – whether it was fighting/battling, or viewing the memories of a character – Redlisted was interesting, and consistently kept my attention focused on the intriguing plot. I must say that I really enjoyed the world-building Ms. Beaman created in Redlisted.  Revenants, a type of vampiric being, were our main focus.  We also saw dhampyres and ghouls.  Ms. Beaman did a spectacular job ensuring that her different-from-cannon creatures were fully explained through the course of the story.  As a reader, I found the different ‘houses’ particularly mesmerizing.   While there wasn’t a clear-cut romance going on during the story, I see something building for future installments of Redlisted, as this was noted as ‘book 1’.  Adam and Kate are definitely meant for each other.  This first installment indicated that we would see more of our main characters, as well.   Any fan of mythology is familiar with Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory in Greek mythology.  I found her presence in the lore of the revenant quite interesting.  Even while not driving the plot, Mnemosyne and her role was important to the story arc.   I had a few WTH moments while reading Redlisted.  I couldn’t believe the way that Adam found out a ton of information!  Spock-like, to say the least.  Adam, for me, completely drove the plot.  In reading the blurb, you get the impression that it’s really Kate (and we don’t even learn her name until mid-way through the...
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Oct
15

Review: Coveted by Shawntelle Madison

Review: Coveted by Shawntelle Madison Coveted Author: Shawntelle Madison  Release Date: April 24, 2012 Publisher: Ballantine Books Coveted Series #1 ISBN: #978-0345529183 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      SOMETIMES WHAT YOU COVET IS IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP.      For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home, and Nat and Thorn discover that old flames still remain intense.      Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a much hairier problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is the first target in the turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all her strength to save her pack, and ultimately, herself. What I’m talking about:      Although we don’t know much about how “pack” hierarchy works, it is evident from the very start that Nat falls at the very bottom of the pecking order. We learn that in the five years since her love (and son of the pack alpha leader) Thorn has left, Nat has fallen prey to her obsessive compulsive disorder, been kicked out of the pack, and is making ends meet in a curio shop. She left her life in New York City after she couldn’t function any long to move back home, and she is now alone, abandoned even by her family.      Disrupting the meager life she’s carved out for herself, Thorn returns to South Toms River preparing to take over as the son of the alpha – a job he put off when he left five years ago. A rival pack is working to take over the South Toms Pack, and it looks like Nat is on their list to kill. It is evident that Thorn is still attracted to (and probably cares for) Nat, but he...
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Oct
10

Review: Alchemystic by Anton Strout

Review: Alchemystic by Anton Strout Alchemystic Author: Anton Strout  Release Date: Sept. 25, 2012 Publisher: Ace Spellmason Chronicles #1 ISBN: #978-1937007799 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (290 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: AN OLD FRIEND OF THE FAMILY…       Alexandra Belarus is a struggling artist living in New York City, even though her family is rich in real estate, including a towering Gothic Gramercy Park building built by her great-great-grandfather. But the truth of her bloodline is revealed when she is attacked on the street and saved by an inhumanly powerful winged figure. A figure who knows the Belarus name…       Lexi’s great-great-grandfather was a Spellmason—an artisan who could work magic on stone. But in his day, dark forces conspired against him and his, so he left a spell of protection on his family. Now that Lexi is in danger, the spell has awoken her ancestor’s most trusted and fearsome creation: a gargoyle named Stanis.       Lexi and Stanis are equally surprised to find themselves bound to each other. But as they learn to work together, they realize that only united can they save the city they both love… What G & U are talking about:       Alchemystic is the debut novel in the Spellmason Chronicles.  Mr. Strout delivers a light but intriguing glimpse into a fascinating element of the paranormal, the gargoyle.       Overall, Gikany and Una enjoyed Alchemystic.  It was a refreshing change of pace in our typical reading schedule.  The urban fantasy world that Mr. Strout has created is fascinating with the theory of alchemy.  It is our world with a part peeled back to reveal the magic and skill behind some of our greatest icons: turn of the century buildings and most importantly their architectural decorations.  People have been awed and fascinated by gargoyles for centuries and it was exciting to have a series that has them as part of the core.  We are only given a small glimpse into this world, and considering where Alexandra is left, we hope to experience much more.       Alexandra is our main character and the majority of Alchemystic is told from her point of view.  Gikany and Una enjoyed watching Alexandra come into her birthright, but we felt she was a tad whiney, which lead to us characterizing her as a bit of a spoiled brat. Not too flattering for an adult who should know that sometimes in...
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Oct
4

Review: Cry Wolf Graphic Novel by Patricia Briggs, et. al.

Review: Cry Wolf Graphic Novel by Patricia Briggs, et. al. Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf Vol. 1 Author: Patricia Briggs / David Lawrence / Todd Herman  Release Date: Oct. 2, 2012 Publisher: InkLit (Penguin) Alpha & Omega Graphic Novel #1 ISBN: #978-0441018482 Genre: Graphic Novel / Urban Fantasy Format(s): Hardcover (128 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Cry Wolf is Patricia Briggs’ New York Times bestselling novel about the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. Now, these characters come alive in full-color graphic novels. Anne never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack she’s learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick – the son of the leader of the North American werewolves-came into her life. He insists that not only is Anne his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And Anna may be the key to stopping a rogue werewolf that threatens the entire pack. This is a re-issue of Ace’s compilation of the Dynamite Entertainment Cry Wolf graphic series. It contains new artwork and a never-before published version of issue #1. It is NOT identical to the Ace edition though it does have the same ISBN. What G & U are talking about: WARNING: Please note that the series this graphic novel is based on is an ADULT urban fantasy series.  Sometimes we can easily mistake a graphic novel for being an acceptable young adult genre, a comic book if you will.  That is not the case.  There are very serious adult themes that take place in this story that are not appropriate for young children.   As huge fans of Patricia Briggs, it is not surprising that Gikany and Una had the privilege of reviewing the graphic novel release of Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf Volume 1.  (Okay, we may have nagged Twimom…a tad…a bit…a lot).  Although it has been released before in this format, the artwork on this one is new and the story is a retelling of the novel from the Alpha and Omega series, Cry Wolf.   The story follows Cry Wolf very well.  It is understandable that there had to be a few tweaks to the story considering the change in format.  We enjoyed the way the novella, Alpha and Omega, (from which sprang the series) was incorporated in flashbacks of various characters.  Anna’s history in her previous pack is very much...
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Sep
26

Blog Tour Review: Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Blog Tour Review: Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson Full Blooded Author: Amanda Carlson  Release Date: Sept. 11, 2012 Publisher: Orbit Jessica McClain #1 ISBN: #978-0316205207 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): paperback (352 p), e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.       After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.       But not everyone is on board. The werewolf Rights of Laws is missing text and the superstitious werewolves think that Jessica means an end to their race. It doesn’t help when Jessica begins to realize she’s more. She can change partway and hold her form, and speak directly to her wolf. But the biggest complication by far is that her alpha father can’t control her like he can the rest of his wolves.       When a mercenary who’s been hired by the vampires shows up to extract information about the newly turned werewolf only days after her change, they find themselves smack in the middle of a war and there’s no choice but to run together. When it’s up to Jessica to negotiate her release against her father’s direct orders, she chooses to take an offer for help instead. In exchange, Jessica must now swear an oath she may end up repaying with her life. What I’m talking about:       Our story opens with a huge proverbial BANG, and may I add a big surprise to me, when our heroine, Jessica McClain begins to shift into a wolf. For those that read the novella, Blooded, it may be a bit of a shock to find out that Jessica is now 26 years old and has been living away from the Pack since the end of the novella (when she was 19 years old). Oh, and that the once human girl is now the only female wolf shifter in existence. Many of the questions I had after reading the novella disappeared by the end of the first chapter! Personally, I really liked the idea that she was “only a human” among the...
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Sep
25

Review: Dead Mann Running by Stefan Petrucha

Review: Dead Mann Running by Stefan Petrucha Dead Mann Running Author: Stefan Petrucha  Release Date: Sept. 4, 2012 Publisher: Roc Hessius Mann #2 ISBN: #978-0451464743 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s):  Paperback (339 p), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Just because a bullet has your name on it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t duck… Either I’m stubborn or it’s rigor mortis, but being dead didn’t stop me from being a detective. But it’s tough out there for a zombie. These days the life-challenged have to register and take monthly tests to prove our emotional stability. See, if we get too low, we go feral. And I’ve been feeling down lately myself. So when a severed arm – yeah, just the arm – leaves a mysterious briefcase in my office, my assistant Misty thinks figuring out where it came from will keep me on track. But this job goes deeper and darker than I imagined. Turns out the people after the briefcase know more about my past life than I can remember, and even more about what I’ve become. What G & U are talking about: Dead Mann Running is the second novel in the Hessius Mann series.  Overall Gikany and Una enjoyed this latest installment; however, we are curious to see where it goes from here.  It is amazing how dystopian this world is, although the only difference from our current state is the discovery (and use) of RIP – the magical drug that returns the dead to life…or something like it. Gikany and Una felt a little amiss as we started Dead Mann Running.  We had forgotten how much had happened in the previous novel, Dead Mann Walking.  If only there had been time for a reread, it might have made the start of this novel a little smoother.  Pushing that aside, it amazes us how much Mr. Petrucha can fit into a novel.  Although this is urban fantasy, it is woven around a detective element.  We loved to watch the pieces fall together.  Sometimes it felt like we were watching a suspense movie and we were screaming at the screen because we know what is waiting. The Hessius Mann series is a darkly, adults-only series. This is truly illustrated in the first few chapters of Dead Mann Running.  Considering Chakz (the term this novel loosely uses for returned to life) go feral when they lose whatever it is that keeps them going, and all the negative experiences and trials that Hessius goes through, it is...
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